Just like they have all year, the UVa baseball team used clutch hitting and outstanding pitching to defeat one of the best teams and starting pitchers in the country. Georgia Tech's Mark Pope entered the game last night with the best record (7-0) in the country and lowest ERA in the Conference but the 'Hoos were not intimidated.
Pope was virtually unhittable through the first six inning. Virginia was held to a single hit til the seventh and was facing a 1-0 deficit. 3rd year John Hicks finally figured out Pope and lined a single into left field to lead off the inning and 2nd year Ryan Levine followed suit with an infield single. The Cavaliers got a productive out from 3rd Steven Proscia who grounded out and moved the runners to 2nd and 3rd to set the stage for 4th year Dave Coleman. Coleman took a 1-0 pitch from Pope and deposited it over the right field wall to give the 'Hoos a 3-1 lead and all the runs they would need.
Even though they wouldn't need the extra runs, the Cavs would go on to score 3 more insurance runs to put the exclamation point on the victory. 4th year outfielder John Barr would score in the 8th off a Proscia single to push the lead to 4-1. And in the 9th with the game all but wrapped up, 1st year Mitchell Shifflett would lead off with a double and score on a Keith Werman safety squeeze. Werman would go on to score thanks to a throwing error from the Yellow Jackets.
The true story of the game however was not the clutch offense that the Cavaliers featured. The true story would have to have been UVa's All-American starting pitcher Danny Hultzen. Coming off a week in which he was named Baseball America's Mid-Season Player of the Year, Danny did not fail to impress the countless Major League scouts that were there to see him. Hultzen used his fastball-change up combo that has been so good to limit Georgia Tech to only 2 runs on 7 hits and 1 walk. Through their first 30 games, the Yellow Jackets were only striking out 7.3 times a game, but they had never seen a pitcher quite like Hultzen. Hultzen struck out 12 Jackets over the 8 innings he pitched to earn his 7th win of the year and 27th of his career. The 27th win puts him in a tie with former Cavalier All-American and current Gwinnett Brave (AAA for the Braves) Jacob Thompson for most wins in a career at UVa.
I should really stop predicting who is going to win these games because this team refuses to lose anymore. No matter who they are playing or what situation they face, they always seem to get the job done. While this might not be the most talented team in UVa program history(I say the '07 or '10 team was), nobody can argue that they have been the most successful through 32 games posting a 30-2 record. That 30-2 record is apparently the best start by any team in ACC Conference history! This program never ceases to amaze me.
The two teams will square off again tonight at 6 as the Hoos will look to win and take yet another series. I'll be providing updates via Twitter when I can on @STLUVaBaseball and our fearless leader, @TheUVAFool will be as well. If you want to listen to the game, Charlottesville's 1070 WINA will be streaming their coverage online FO FREE. Hope everyone enjoys their weekend and we can celebrate a series win tonight. Oh, and of course, GO HOOOOSSSS